Human rights clauses in EU external agreements and their contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights : the case of Central Asia
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Currently the Central Asian countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are experiencing a considerable decline in human rights. The repressive regimes are violating wide range of human rights and remain rather resistant to any international attempts to halt the worrying situation. The European Union as a global actor striving to ensure the respect for human rights in third countries, over the years has developed multitude of various instruments aimed at the promotion and protection of human rights in third countries. One of such instruments is also the human rights clauses. In the case of the Central Asian countries, these clauses are enshrined in the Partnership and Cooperation Agreements. The human rights clauses foresee various potentialities which might be used in order to improve the human rights situation in the Central Asian region. They also might be used as a legal basis for the negative measures in the case if the party to the agreement violates its obligation to respect the human rights. Regrettably, so far the EU has not made use of these potentialities and the human rights situation in this particular region remains low. Nevertheless, current tendencies indicate that the EU recognises the importance of the region and begins to bring the human rights issues on the agenda of the EU and the Central Asian cooperation.